Sunday, June 03, 2007

Spyro Gyra | "Good To Go-Go" 6/12/07

For more than three decades, Spyro Gyra has been delighting music and jazz fans with their highly creative music while recording 26 albums. Since their earliest recordings in the mid-1970's they have continued to maintain a fresh approach to their craft by borrowing from a range of sources and distilling them into an unmistakable signature sound.

“Good To Go-Go” is their fourth release (June 12, 2007) on the Heads Up International label, following on the heels of the Grammy nominated 2006 “Wrapped in a Dream” (Best Pop Instrumental Album).

Incorporating new band member drummer/percussionist Bonny B from Trinidad who provides fresh energy into the band, he joins saxophonist and Spyro Gyra founder Jay Beckenstein, keyboardist Tom Schuman, guitarist Julio Fernandez and bassist Scott Ambush in the five-man lineup. According to Beckenstein, ...“The fact that we had this new drummer with this great spirit about him prompted us to go in the direction of a more live-sounding, less produced record.”

Leading off with the bouncy mid-tempo, “Simple Pleasures” is a great song to listen to while driving with the windows down on a warm summer evening; The syncopated backbeat and subtle tonal shifts of uptempo “Get Busy” make for a challenging but fun melodic exercise.

Additional highlights include “Funkyard Dog” - like its title indicates, is a fast paced tune where Bonny B sets up a tight groove and allows room for the rest of the band to shine and “Island Time” , an engergetic calyso track that makes you think your on the islands; “Along For The Ride” is a change of pace, with a nice sax by Beckenstein and guitar support by Fernandez, as the band slows it down on this tune.

Going into the homestretch with the title track, penned by Ambush, a highly percussive drums/bass groove that allows room for sax, keyboards and more. Closing with “Newroses” increases the tempo/energy even further, with each band member trading licks for almost seven minutes.

“Going To Go-Go” continues the Spyro Gyra philosophy, of what they are doing at the current moment, is the best they have ever done! After 30 years, Spyro Gyra still feels/sounds very interesting and exciting!

Credit: ~ Ian Cooke theurbanmusicscene.com

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